Blood Home > Varicose Vein Treatment

For those with varicose veins, treatment options range from wearing compression stockings to having surgery. Other treatments may involve endovenous methods, which use a laser or radiofrequency to treat the veins. The most common treatment is sclerotherapy, a procedure in which the healthcare provider injects a solution into the vein that causes the vein walls to swell, stick together, and seal shut. This causes the vein to become scar tissue. Because there is no cure for the weakened valves in the veins, treatment may need to be repeated.

An Overview of Treating Varicose Veins

Once a diagnosis of varicose veins has been made, your healthcare provider will consider a number of factors before recommending a treatment option. For some varicose veins, treatment may involve compression stockings or other strategies that do not require surgery, such as losing weight, increasing muscle tone, and physical activity (see Prevention of Varicose Veins for more information). In other cases, treatment options may include:
 
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Endovenous methods, such as vein ablation, which use a laser or radiofrequency
  • Surgery.
     

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for varicose veins. During sclerotherapy, the healthcare provider injects a solution into the vein that causes the vein walls to swell, stick together, and seal shut. This stops the flow of blood and the vein turns into scar tissue. In a few weeks, the vein should fade. The same vein may need to be treated more than once.
 
This treatment is effective if done the right way. Most patients can expect a 50 to 90 percent improvement.
 
Sclerotherapy for varicose veins does not require anesthesia and can be done in the doctor's office.
 
Possible side effects of this treatment include:
 
  • Temporary stinging or painful cramps where the injection was made
  • Temporary red, raised patches of skin where the injection was made
  • Temporary small skin sores where the injection was made
  • Temporary bruises where the injection was made
  • Spots around the treated vein that usually disappear
  • Brown lines around the treated vein that usually disappear
  • Groups of fine, red blood vessels around the treated vein that usually disappear.
     
The treated vein can also become inflamed or develop lumps of clotted blood. This is not dangerous. Applying heat and taking aspirin or antibiotics can relieve inflammation. Lumps of coagulated blood can be drained.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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